Frog Days of Summer

Hike Henry Coe to Frog Lake

It's still officially summer but even in fall Henry Coe State Park offers a bounty of beauty in its 87,000 acres of rolling hills, mountain ridges, and redwood and oak trees. Located an hour southeast of San Jose, this place feels like a world of its own. Make the leap and do a 5-mile loop hike to Frog Lake, loaded with—you guessed it—frogs! From Coe Ranch Headquarters (aka the visitor center) you'll connect Monument Trail and Hobbs Road to reach the lake. Monument is a mostly exposed uphill climb and it's quite steep for about half a mile, but you'll enjoy views of the Diablo Range along the way. At Hobbs Road you'll descend a very steep downhill portion, so take it slowly as you approach the lake (or see the alternate trail to the lake, in the Tip below). At Frog Lake, you might find yourself rubbing your eyes … where are those four-legged little leapers? The tiny green frogs camouflage really well, so you'll have to come close to see them leaping leaf to leaf. You'll also see small fish, and possibly tadpoles. Take the time to enjoy this magnificent little ecosystem. The lakeside doesn't have picnic tables, but there's plenty of space to sit down on the ground to watch the frogs and fish and take in the serenity of surrounding trees and grasses. When you're ready, take Flat Frog Trail instead of heading back the way you came. This trail winds through the trees and takes longer, but it's much flatter and more shaded (watch out for poison oak; there's a lot of it). Connect to Corral Trail, which takes you through rolling hills and beautiful oak trees back to Coe Ranch Headquarters.

TIP: If steep uphills and downhills aren't for you, an alternate trail route is the 5.8-mile out-and-back route on Frog Flat Trail and Corral Trail.

From Hwy. 101 S, take the E. Dunne Ave. exit towards Morgan Hill. Follow E. Dunne past Anderson Lake and then follow Dunne Ave. to the Coe Ranch Headquarters (a total of 12.2 miles). Pay $8 for parking at the visitor center, where you can also talk to rangers, get maps, and buy snacks and drinks. No dogs.

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